The Czech-built CZ-75 is one of the most renowned and trusted, pistols ever made.
Does this seem a bold statement?
This 9mm semi-automatic may not look like much. However, this is a serious firearm, folks. It is made entirely of steel and has a hammer-forged barrel and a large-capacity magazine. It’s mechanical (and pretty much ergonomically perfect) design nearly guarantees high functional performance and accuracy.
This is not a pretty ‘lil show gun. It’s a superb — weapon. This is why it’s been used by more police and security forces worldwide than any other handgun. It is subpar to some of today’s high-end polymer frame guns. However, it serves as an incredible firing pistol overall. It’s also an intelligent choice for home or conceal-carry defense.
In this review, we will take a closer look at this famed CZ-75. A bit about its nearly five-decade history, its design, and its overall performance is revealed. By the end, we hope you have a greater appreciation for this exemplary firearm and know if it needs to be in your armory?
So, let’s fire away…
Some CZ-75 History
Historical knowledge can foster appreciation.
The CZ-75 was created in the 1970s by brothers Josef and František Koucký. They were design engineers for CZUB, a Czech company founded in 1936. This enterprise makes pretty much every style of gun under the sun. This includes handguns, small and big bore rifles, pistols, and machine guns. It also produces shotguns, grenade launchers, and, well, just about everything else.
Czechoslovakia has always been a renowned area for firearms manufacturing. In the 1940s, the Soviets took over the region. However, firearms manufacturing facilities (such as CZUB) were retained. The locals, rather than relying on Russian offerings, continued making most of their armies’ firearms.
The call for a revolutionary pistol…
The Koucký brothers designed all of CZUB’s post-World War II weapons and were invaluable to the company. In 1969, CZUB commissioned the (freshly retired) brothers to design a new 9mm parabellum pistol. Basically, the company wanted them to create a masterpiece. This is exactly what they did.
An element of that job agreement involved being granted the rarity of total design freedom. A catch, though, came from the top-down Russian government. Perhaps strangely, the CZ-75 was particularly made for export.
Its designs were classified as ‘secret patents.’ Hence, nobody inside Czechoslovakia could learn about the designs. Even similar designs within the country could not be registered in Czechoslovakia. Moreover, the Czech Republic did not file patents internationally. This meant that any country could copy the CZ-75, without any patent infringement issues.
In 1975, the CZ-75’s mass production began… and so did its worldwide cloning. Not much came back to the Koucký brothers (or CZUB) in-terms of royalties (or fame). And there was nothing they could do about this. This sounds like a classic intellectual property heist. However, in 1985 the CZ-75 finally became available for sale in Czechoslovakia.
And in 1989, the Czech armed forces adopted its use.
Over twenty different firearms companies worldwide are making CZ-75 clones. In fact, the CZ-75 (second to the 1911) is the most copied pistol design. There are over 25 different CZ-75 models. This entails full-size, compact, sub-compact, competition, and polymer versions.
There are the CZ-75B, 85, 97, and fully auto models, among many others. The subject of this review, the CZ-75B is the flagship model.
Too much to further cover here. But this all reveals much of the CZ-75’s incredible design.
The CZ-75 and the “Wonder-Nine” Revolution
In the 1970s, semi-auto (9mm) pistols began replacing the trusty revolvers used by the police and other gun-carrying personnel. A “wonder-nine” revolution began.
The CZ-75 is considered one of the first wonder-nine pistols. Why? Firstly, it is chambered with a 9X19 Parabellum cartridge. Now, this is back when other ‘wonder nines’ were entering the market. The Smith & Wesson 59 was available. Browning hi-power had been around for a while. But the CZ-75 was a new player in the game.
Double-action first shot…
The CZ-75’s “wonder” part is linked with its trigger design. It allows for a double-action first shot. It is also equipped with a stacked large capacity (16-round) magazine. These aspects are an overall revolutionary design wonder. They are also an obvious advantage for the military and police.
The CZ-75 was quite a game-changer…
1 CZ-75 (A) Design
So how and why has the CZ-75 endured the sands of time? How come it remains as such a beloved handgun? Well, the design — its mechanical and ergonomic functioning.
If considering design plan order, it seems the Koucký brothers placed the user’s personal experience first and forefront. The CZ-75 comfortably fits pretty much anyone. We’re unsure how they figured this out exactly. But a thin grip, and all controls being placed within thumb’s reach, equals an ergonomic triumph.
How about that revolutionary shooting mechanism…
As prior mentioned, the CZ-75 is of double-action/single-action (DA/SA) design. This means you can, with the hammer down, pull the trigger and actuate the hammer. Subsequent rounds leave the hammer in the rear position. The gun is therefore held in single-action mode.
This means you can aim, squeeze, and fire again from that position. Want to stop shooting altogether? Raise the safety, and you’re in safe mode. This is functionally brilliant.
A de-cocker is arguably better than a manual safety. This is at least true for a DA/SA pistol. The CZ-75’s manual thumb safety is frame mounted. If the hammer is down, the safety cannot be engaged. This changes when in single-action mode. This means the CZ-75 can be carried while “locked and cocked.” A half-cock position is also available.
Details are also in the slide and rails…
A typical semi-auto pistol entails a slide that rides upon the frame rail’s outside. However, the CZ-75’s slide rides upon its frame rail’s inside. This is also a distinguished and revolutionary design feature. The hammer-forged bore is also lowered. The overall results? Tighter mechanical functioning and enhanced accuracy.
It has a linkless cam locking system. It operates on short recoil. And this all creates an overall tight shooting experience.
It’s no wonder how and why the CZ-75 was at the forefront of the wonder-nine revolution. It was, and in many ways, still is a trend-setter.
2 The CZ-75 (B)
Much has changed since the CZ’75’s initial 1970s launch, and as mentioned, it currently has many variant designs. In order to stop this review from becoming a book, we are only going to cover the CZ-75B model compared with its CZ-75A predecessor.
The CZ-75B’s safety mechanism, and beyond
Technically speaking, a modern CZ-75 is the CZ-75B. The primary design difference between the CZ-75A and the modern B is the firing pin safety block (hence the ‘B’ designation).
The original CZ-75A did not have a firing pin block. Therefore, dropping it could lead to discharging. However, the CZ-75B’s firing pin safety design prevents this mishap. Overall, the CZ-75B’s trigger is simply better and worth the trade-off. Note that this firing pin block design adds slightly to trigger pull weight and length. But so what. Hammer camming helps with this.
Some additional differences are that the CZ-75A’s trigger guard is rounded. It also has a spurred hammer.
The magazines are not interchangeable…
It’s important to know that the CZ-75A and CZ-75B’s magazines are different. Those for the classic CZ-75A are more difficult to come by; they also can be a bit expensive.
Unless you’re looking to collect a classic pistol, the CZ-75B is a better choice.
What about CZ-75 Performance?
This review began by touting the CZ-75 as a relatively hardcore weapon, and it is> However, this doesn’t mean it’s a beast to shoot. It’s not like experiencing the sharp wrist-rapping power-kick of a .357 or a hold-on-tight .44 magnum pounding.
We are talking about a 9mm here. And while the CZ-75 is designed for repetitive and high-volume (yet accurate) shooting, it’s also a softie. If using standard rounds, the recoil and muzzle rise are minimal. An all-steel (yet weight-balanced) design facilitates this. And what this renders is you better maintaining site picture focus.
We also praised the CZ-75 for its ergonomic design mastery. Again, pretty much anyone can comfortably handle this pistol. An additional perk in these regards is the manual safety. For some new shooters, this setup (unlike the no-manual-safety Glock) can ease one’s safety related nerves.
Various sight configurations for the CZ-75 are available. This includes a luminescent 3-dot, adjustable target, and night sights. The standard sights are nothing spectacular, but they’re good enough. They line-up easily and smoothly allow you to do what you need to do.
The front and rear sights are fairly small. There is also a lot of space between them. This isn’t a major design flaw. However, this setup may challenge inexperienced shooters. It can be overcome with focus and practice.
How about the sight picture?…
Shooting accuracy is almost always correlated with a shooter’s skills. This notion applies even if someone wants to blame the gun for poor groupings or off-shots. Well, the CZ-75 is about as good as it gets. It’s well-designed, comfortable, and shoots easily. If your shots aren’t on-the-spot, this likely isn’t the gun’s doing.
Not everything with the CZ-75 is perfect, though. Again, its double-action setup results in a slightly long and heavy trigger pull. Then again, this trigger labor can assist you with concentrating on what you are doing.
Smooth, short, and clean…
The CZ-75’s trigger pull drama isn’t the case if in single-action mode. Rather, the trigger pull is smooth, short, and clean. This results in bolstered trigger control. Aiming to place that one shot where it counts? No problem.
The trigger reset is a bit delayed, however. And it doesn’t happen until the trigger is near fully released. This isn’t the functional preference of many shooters. However, this design setup can help newer shooters develop trigger control skills.
Reliability is the CZ-75’s sweet spot…
We can’t think of a more reliable pistol than the CZ-75. It just doesn’t (or rarely) fails. It matches or beats eastern European firearms. And it chews on and spits out pretty much ammo you want to use.
So How does the CZ-75 Fare Overall?
The CZ-75 pistol is, with no doubts, highly accurate. An only slightly annoying element is the sights are fairly small. They are also spaced far apart, which can cause sighting errors. However, this minor design issue is surmountable with practice.
Ergonomics and Functionality
The CZ’75’s long and heavy double-action trigger pull is a slight downer. However, double-action isn’t really about precision now, is it? This trigger pull labor is made up for by ergonomic comfort and brilliant placement of controls (e.g., the safety).
The CZ-75 weighs 2.17 pounds (0.98 kg), therefore, not a light pistol. However, it doesn’t feel particularly heavy while in your hand. It’s balanced and feels like a truly high-quality gun.
The CZ-75’s front and back straps are nice and smooth. For additional grip, the front of the trigger guard has some checkering. And the plastic grips have a nice thumb rest. Last but not least, there are ridges placed across the top of the slide. This helps with reflection while shooting in bright sunlight.
We’ll say it again. This is an example of ergonomic design mastery.
The CZ-75 isn’t particularly customizable (without a gunsmith, anyway). Then again, there isn’t much reason for it.
You can, however, acquire components from various sources.
Want to do some simple customization? Equip your CZ-75 with the sights you prefer and change the grips. Done!
As mentioned earlier, this isn’t a pretty show gun. But all-metal guns, in our opinion, are sweet. The CZ-75 is available with a nicely applied and durable polycoat finish. This means it will look good for as long as you take care of it. But if you’re looking for a bit different-than-standard look? Matte, two-tone, glossy blue, and stainless steel versions are also available.
It should be obvious by now that this superb pistol offers a lot of bang for the buck. It’s priced relatively the same as a Glock. But with the CZ-75, you get a high-quality all-metal gun (with a rich history).
CZ 75 Review Pros and Cons
- Highly accurate.
- Low perceived recoil.
- Extremely reliable.
- Very smooth trigger action.
- Built-in firing block.
- Ergonomic feel.
- Not the best quality sights, but these can be replaced.
- Quite heavy.
- Spare magazines can be costly.
More 9mm Pistols under Review
Now we can’t think of many reasons why you wouldn’t want a CZ 75, but if that’s the case, then check out our in-depth reviews of the SCCY CPX-2 9mm, our Glock 19 Gen 4 review, our SCCY 9mm review, our Ruger LC9S review, and our Glock 43X review.
CZ 75 Review – Parting Shots
We hope this review has rendered you with a new (or renewed) appreciation for the trend-setting CZ-75. There are a few minor (picky) design flaws, such as with the sights. But so what. This versatile, tough, and reliable pistol is out-of-the-box used for range shooting, for public service, or for personal self-defense.
It is likewise a reliable and fantastic option for new and experienced shooters alike.
From its internal design wizardry to its pampering external comfort, this is simply an incredible firearm.
What more could you ask for in a semi-auto, than the CZ-75?
Happy and safe shooting!